Tuesday, March 24, 2015

IPs at Jib Room Marsh Harbor Abaco

...The IP owners gather at the Jib Room...
The Island Packet Fleet of various yachts have sailed into Marsh Harbor in the Abacos and we have taken up home base off THE JIB ROOM which we LOVE. Marsh Harbor is a really good anchorage where the holding is fantastic and the large harbor has room for many many yachts. The Jib Room is located in the northeast end of the harbor. The public dinghy dock is on the south shore with easy access shopping. In town there are large hardware stores, pizza shops, bakeries, grocery stores and the famous BTC Bahamas phone store.

On Monday we met newly arrived "Merry Sea" and "Blue Sky."
IP owners supported the JIB ROOM with 8 boats attending their world famous STEAK NIGHT where Marvin the Gill Master cooks up steaks to perfection. The Jib Room also serves a delicious house drink called the Bilge Burner which is similar to a rum punch with more kick :-)

We enjoyed taking over three large IP yellow/gold picnic tables on the porch which provided for a fun gathering where we all could visit, share sea stories and catch up on each others travels. Thank you to Tom and Linda, owners of The Jib Room, for creating and running what I feel is the best cruising stop in the Abacos. Wed night is Rib Night and Sat night is Steak night.

On Monday nite, more IP's gathered at The Jib Room to greet the new arrivals. Boats attending either or both events were IP38 Holiday, IP440 Emerald Isle, IP37 Simple Life, IP440 Aventura, IP380 Blue Sky, IP38 Merry Sea, IP40 Tin Tean, IP420 Flatlander, IP37 Galileo and IP35 Island Spirit.

Where is Marsh Harbor Abaco and the JIB ROOM?
Marsh Harbor and The JIB ROOM location
Island Spirit anchored off the Jib Room

Hayden and Radeen on date night

Hayden and Michele, author of "LEAVE THE SHORE BEHIND"
IP37 Simple Life

Michele and Deb share a smile

Radeen, Joe, and Maureen enjoying the Jib Room

Radeen with Linda, the owner of the JIB ROOM

Gerry and Larry

Joe and Michele strike a pose atTthe Jib Room

The wonderful JIB ROOM, a cruisers' paradise

Marvin the GRILL MASTER prepares the best steaks

Desmond the LIMBO KING puts on a great show

Desmond as low as you can go. He's been performing for 26 years!

Sunrise over Marsh Harbor

Boats are moving again, some enjoying the Abacos and others starting to head west towards Florida and home. We wish you all fair winds and smooth seas, until we meet again!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Great Sale to Green Turtle

Great Sale Cay to Green Turtle Cay
It is a simple 45 nm run from Great Sale Key to Green Turtle Key and in this case it was a total flat calm motor run as there are zero winds in the Bahamas this week due to a ridge north of here blocking all the winds. Fine with us, we prefer to sail but we also prefer calm passages, so I sanded teak and did a varnish job on passage.

Sara and Ken of IP40 Tin Tean join us for dinner


We arrived Green Turtle Cay on Wednesday and decided to stay here and enjoy the White Sound area on anchor. We took in the Green Turtle Club and enjoyed breakfast there. Good friends from Annapolis, Ken and Sara, biked over from Black Sound for dinner aboard. They recently organized the first ever St. Patrick's Day Parade at GTC....we are sorry we missed it by just one day.

Life is easy here. We did laundry. Sounds like not a big deal, but with 3 loads at $5.00/load to wash and $5.00/load to dry it adds up to a quick $30 dollars. While the laundry is running, we stay by the pool sipping coffee and looking out at our boat on anchor. So, the view and pool alone are worth the price!

Here are a few photos.
.... I really love to take photos in the Bahamas....

Radeen measuring the banyan tree

Radeen loves to ride a tandem bike, so we toured Old Bahama Bay

What to do at Great Sale Key, read, read, read

Sunset at Great Sale Cay, looking back toward Florida

Enjoying the sunset selfie

Heading EAST in the AM for Green Turtle Cay

Ahhhhh, the Green Turtle Club

Coffee creamer from near our home in PA and butter from New Zealand

The #1 Breakfast sandwich in the Bahamas, Green Turtle Club
I rarely blog food, but this is worth it....get here and try one!

Whiteaker Yacht Sales mobile office i.e. Team Island Spirit
Open in the Bahamas and working

Our Mobile Whiteaker Yacht Sales Office
Stop in

This is us at Green Turtle Cay, The Bluff House

The view from the Laundry Room with our boat on anchor dead center

Landscaping

The tide is out in New Plymouth Settlement

Welcome to Green Turtle Cay where 400 people live.
The settlement was founded in 1783 by black and white British Loyalists. They were colonists forced from the U.S.
following the Revolutionary War due to persecution and economic ruin.

A home on the water, needs some work. Coral blocks for the foundation.

Blue against the blue sky, beautiful

Pig competition, these are the new swimming pigs in Abaco

Phone call, need to make a call? This phone works!

Thank you, BTC Bahamas, our cell phone tower and how we communicate

On watch over the dinghy dock.

Yes, life is slower, easier, and more peaceful in the Bahamas. Water is clear to 20+ feet. Fish are swimming under the boat and the sky is blue and the breeze about 5-10 knots right now. Temps are 80 degrees at noon and 70 degrees at night. You wake in the AM and hear NOTHING, only fish splashing, roosters crowing, and birds chirping. No car horns, no trains, no police sirens, no traffic, no TV news, nothing, just peace and calm and quiet.....ahhhh....welcome to the Bahamas!


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Miami to West End Bahamas

...Radeen raises the Bahamas flag...
As we have said many times before, the hardest part of any cruising adventure is leaving, simply departing the safety of your home port or your current harbour. It is far easier to stay at one location rather than to make yourself move on. First of all, you are never fully ready as there is always one more item to find, more provisions to buy, and always something on the boat not working that needs to be fixed. After watching the forecast for days, an urgency factor comes into play when a weather window starts to open. On this preparation for our 4th trip to the Bahamas, it seemed as if this vortex was even stronger. Maybe this had something to do with the fact that we were based at Coconut Grove Sailing Club, Biscayne Bay, Miami, which is simply wonderful. It is also always hard to say good-bye to friends old and new, so we had one more IP Party on the Porch with IP380 Tamarak, IP38 Oceana, IP27 Time Goes By and IP380 Shawnee. Due to all this, we had a hard time leaving, but....we left and made West End, Bahamas, about a week and a half after our original planned departure.

The blue water as we come up on soundings, West End
WOW are we glad we did! We had vivid memories of the beautiful dark blue waters of the Gulf Stream and that incredible aqua blue water coming up on soundings arriving West End Bahamas, but it now seems even better than we remembered. I have taken photos of the water off the stern, the beam, the bow, the horizon and nothing presents the true blue of this water. You must sail it and see it for yourself, it is so special and so beautiful.

After check-in, Radeen hits the pool
Checking in at West End was fast and convenient. Dockage at Old Bahama Bay is discounted 20% for members of the Royal Marsh Harbor Yacht club. We decided to stay two nights so we could enjoy the wonderful pool, Radeen loves to swim, so we stayed one entire day and walked the beach, rode bikes and swam in the pool. After the 91 mile, 13.5 hour passage, it was a very fun day!

Our Bahamas BTC cell phone lit up and started working when we were 8 miles offshore. It really pays to NOT have to go to a BTC Bahamas store. We always buy our sim chip BEFORE we leave USA from www.MrSimCard.com who provides outstanding service and value. The sim card was shipped to us in 24 hours, and was activated on the BTC network two days before our trip. Once in sight of a BTC tower, we simply turned on the phone and were on the network. We use a Samsung Global Phone, GSM quadband, and it has served us well. Welcome to da Bajammas, Mon....you are going to like it here...

Here are some photos Miami to West End.
The boat at CGSC loaded to the max, down on her waterline

After working up the mast for hours on the Radar, I broke the new belt and hit the bitters!
Judith and Haakon's gift from Scandinavia.

The helm electronics. Raymarine RL70C Chart/Radar w/Samsung tab2 and Navionics

CRAZY, my broken Radar WORKED as we left Cape Florida in the dark
Thank you....it is still working. 

Our Laptop screen with AIS on OpenCPN charting software.
We are the red symbol, the line is our intended course and the green symbols are other vessels.

Helm view at night, Radeen checking Passage Weather as we depart.
We use red lights, which don't ruin our night time vision.

Sunrise as we head 065 for West End, Bahamas

Sunrise Hayden and the calm sea

Motor sailing with full main full jib, doing 9 knots in the Gulf Stream.

Full speed motor sail as ten knots of wind is not enough in the ocean

Radeen loves life on the boat

Half way there, SOG 7.5 as the Stream slows down

The blue water over the stern....and the engine on

Becalmed and zero winds, glad we have a new motor

The blue ocean water

Approaching West End, Bahamas

I shot this same photo 4 years ago, Radeen is so happy
See this:
http://islandspirit35.blogspot.com/2012/03/arriving-bahamas-2012.html
The pool at West End Bahamas, Old Bahama Bay Marina
Let this review tour begin now as we return to our favorite places in the Abacos. We are excited to chase down our Island Packet Fleet that left a week before us. We plan to gather Saturday at the Jib Room for Steak Night, no better place! Thanks for sailing along.